April 17, 2006 at 3:04 AM CDT - Updated June 30 at 9:00 AM
Democrats and Republicans say moving into the May Primary homestretch means voters must pay close attention to candidates who demonstrate ethics and fiscal responsibility.
They're calling this a crucial election year. The large primary ballot holds openings for 23 different offices, ranging from 13 county commissioners to mayor.
Political analysts say the most significant changing of the guard is the Shelby County Commission with decades of experience on the way out, and new ideas moving in.
"It'll be a learning curve for them, but the good thing is we're getting fresh faces," explained political analyst Susan Adler Thorp.
Meanwhile, Republicans and Democrats are narrowing down the issues that will define the new wave of leadership.
"We want our children to have a quality education because that's the key to everything and the budgets are just out of wack," said Shelby County Democratic Party Vice Chair, Cherry Davis.
"Protecting our neighborhoods, our schools, and our tax base. We believe Shelby County is at a crossroads," Republican Party Chairman Bill Giannini explained.
As these elections reshape Shelby County politics, one goal will remain: to resolve the budget shortfall. Thorpe says finding new sources of revenue will most likely come to the forefront as the county moves forward.
Political leaders hope with all the big offices open, voters will not repeat history. In the last primary election four years ago, only 24,000 of 585,000 voters went to the polls.